Apart from metal (which seems destined for underground distribution), most other genres seem healthy.
Artists still push the limits of pop music; an excellent example being Logic, who seamlessly blends hip-hop, soft rock and pop in his soundscape. Trends feed off each other; for instance rap’s focus on mortality may well explain pop’s renewed emphasis on death.
The definition of pop
Pop music can be defined as an umbrella term encompassing multiple styles that draw influence from each other, yet remains difficult to define as it has changed with society over time. Elvis Presley’s blues-tinged rock ‘n’ roll from the 1950s stands in stark contrast to Dua Lipa’s 21st-century funk stylings; additionally, its lyrics have changed over the decades in response to various social climates and issues at that particular time.
At first, the term “pop music” simply meant mainstream musical styles that became widely-sung. After rock and roll became widely-appreciated during the 1960s, however, pop began to have more precise definitions. Today’s definition includes songs that are commercial, danceable, and simple in structure while often including elements from other genres like urban dance Latino and country music as well.
Pop music has long been a dominant force in society and for good reason: many believe its catchiness makes it easy to sing along, while others point out its reflection of current cultural and lifestyle trends. Whatever its appeal may be, one thing remains certain – pop remains highly popular and continues to remain one of the cornerstones of music industry success.
Pop music’s history can be traced to many genres, ranging from disco to heavy metal to funk and punk. Madonna and Michael Jackson started experimenting with sounds that would eventually become part of pop in the 1980s; their experimentations eventually led them into creating music with commercial appeal that followed an easy format and danceability.
Pop music today is predominantly promoted and distributed by major record labels, making it widely accessible and affordable for consumers of all backgrounds. As one of the most commercialized genres of music, however, some fans may prefer more clearly defined genres like metal or hip-hop instead.
The rise of hip-hop
In the early 1980s, MCs and rappers rose from relative obscurity to prominence within hip hop culture. Hip hop first emerged as an answer to watered-down, Europeanized disco music dominating radio airwaves at that time, using instrumental loops from vintage funk records in its initial songs – most famously “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugarhill Gang while Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s socially conscious depiction of life in inner city neighborhoods by Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five gave hip hop national exposure.
As hip-hop culture grew, artists like Run-D.M.C, Beastie Boys and LL Cool J pushed it even further, creating personae that showcased their unique personalities and abilities. Their swagger, style and lyricism proved popular with youth audiences and set an example for new artists to follow suit.
By the 1990s, hip-hop had established itself as a mainstream genre and produced artists like Lil Wayne, Timbaland, and Nelly. Gangsta rap, with its focus on violent lifestyles and impoverished conditions among African American youth in urban environments, had grown immensely in popularity.
Other rap artists expanded the genre in various directions, like LL Cool J and Public Enemy with romantic themes or Public Enemy with political ideology. These diverging styles eventually gave rise to regional hip-hop forms like G-funk from Miami, bounce from New Orleans and crunk from Atlanta.
Hip-hop music has quickly become one of the world’s most beloved genres and continues to exert tremendous cultural impact across many fields – fashion designers, athletes and even military units have all integrated elements of hip-hop into their work.
The digital age has had a dramatic impact on hip-hop by providing artists with new tools and ways to interact with fans. Online platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud enable artists to self-produce, creating music without major record labels, while expanding hip-hop’s global appeal and spreading it even further than before. As hip-hop evolves and pushes boundaries further still, its legacy will undoubtedly continue to change the world while pushing limits further afield; DJs spin turntables in Sao Paulo while Arabic MCs rap in Qatari clubs while young dancers pop and lock all across the planet!
The rise of streaming
No other technological development has had such an immense impact on music than streaming. People now primarily listen to songs and albums via streaming, with sales surpassing digital downloads and physical CDs soon enough.
Streaming services have provided artists and record companies with something they never had before: regular monthly income. But it has also caused much resentment among artists who feel that the streaming economy favors big record labels or streaming services over smaller artists who struggle to make a living from streaming, many of whom may even have to leave music altogether.
Apple quickly established itself as the leader of legal digital music sales with the launch of iPod in 2001 and iTunes two years later, quickly dominating legal digital music market globally by 2009. By this point, they had taken 69% market share while their nearest competitor Amazon MP3 had only captured 8%.
iTunes was the start of something remarkable; streaming soon took hold worldwide and overtook download sales by 2022, becoming the primary driver of overall music revenues.
Streaming subscriptions enable consumers to gain access to an entire library of music for one low price, increasing listening hours while opening up listeners up to new genres they may never have experienced before – dance/electronic, R&B/Hip-Hop, and Latin are some of the most listened-to genres across streaming platforms.
As well as increasing music discovery, streaming has revolutionized how musicians release albums. While in the past music fans would purchase full albums as soon as they came out on CD or vinyl, now fans stream individual songs before purchasing an entire record – leading to shorter song lengths with catchier hooks and melodies.
Streaming services have also revolutionized how people listen to music while driving, revolutionizing how radio has long been the go-to solution for in-vehicle listening experiences. While radio has long been considered essential, streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music now offer alternatives as solutions for in-car listening experiences.
The rise of social media
Social media has quickly become an indispensable marketing tool for musicians. Additionally, it has revolutionized how we consume music – previously we would listen to songs on radio or purchase an album; now many songs can be discovered through platforms such as YouTube, SoundCloud or TikTok and shared instantly worldwide with an international audience. This shift is revolutionizing pop music consumption.
Social media not only allows artists to reach a global audience, but it is also helping shape the future of music. For example, it has enabled new genres like vaporwave and chillhop – created and popularized through dedicated communities on social media – as well as helping expand established genres like K-pop.
While some may worry about how social media could impede pop music’s success, others believe that its growth will only accelerate over time. Pop is a genre which thrives with support from its listeners – if people don’t like a song they won’t invest their time or money into it; hence the importance of creating music which appeals to a wide variety of listeners.
Social media has also made it easier for music to spread and gain popularity, via viral challenges or memes; streaming services offer users the ability to sample songs before purchasing, which has increased sales significantly.
Social media has made it much simpler for new artists to break into the music industry, as well as connecting with their fans and promoting their music. Social media provides them with a means of starting a career as an artist more easily.
Pop music will continue to dominate the music industry for years to come, though its influence can change rapidly due to evolving trends and styles. Therefore, staying abreast of trends while being open-minded about exploring new techniques will keep pop relevant in society.